Middle East News
Report: Egypt politicians oppose referendum on electoral system
Sep 21, 2011, 13:12 GMT
Cairo - Egypt's major political parties are widely opposed to a proposed referendum on the electoral system and the extension of an emergency law, the semi-official newspaper al-Ahram reported Wednesday.
Among the parties rejecting the proposed referendum are the Freedom and Justice Party - the political arm of the influential Muslim Brotherhood, and an alliance of 35 Islamist and liberal parties.
The referendum is to focus on whether the voting system will be based on party lists or individual candidacy, and situations where the emergency law should be enforced, the report said.
Political parties and movements have sharply criticized a draft election law with a new distribution of electoral constituencies and the division of parliamentary seats between party lists and individual candidacy.
They fear that an individual candidate voting system would allow possible loyalists of former president Hosny Mubarak to run in the parliamentary elections.
Egypt's ruling military council met with representatives from about 40 political groups on Sunday to discuss arrangements for parliamentary elections.
The country has also witnessed mass protests since the military rulers decided to extend the emergency law until June 2011.
'The emergency law must be canceled immediately without any referendum on its implementation or cancellation,' the newspaper quoted the leader of the Islamic Freedom and Justice party, Essam al-Erian, as saying.
Last week, the government said the emergency law would be applied to fight terrorism and anarchy after activists, calling for the Israeli ambassador to be expelled, stormed the Israeli embassy in Cairo on September 9.
The emergency law was imposed following the assassination of president Anwar al-Sadat in October 1981, and was in force until Mubarak was toppled in a popular revolt in February.
The military council had promised in March that the emergency law would be lifted prior to the parliamentary elections.
No specific date has been set for the first post-Mubarak elections, although the military council confirmed that elections will be held in November.
'Holding such a referendum would be a waste of time and state resources,' the paper quoted Safir Nour, the leader of the liberal Wafd Party, as saying.
Many parties do not want to see a delay in elections and are pushing for it to be held on time.
The chairman of the electoral commission, Abdel-Moez Ibrahim, said Sunday that the ruling council will issue a decree next week to set the dates for parliamentary elections.